Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, today I proudly endorse the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. As Chairman of the Small Business Committee, over the past two years, we have held over a dozen hearings on federal procurement issues which resulted in eleven contracting reform bills being voted out of Committee with bipartisan support. At the same time that our Committee was developing legislation, the HASC's Panel on Business Challenges in the Defense Industry was holding hearings and roundtables examining many of the same issues. I appreciate the leadership of Mr. Shuster and Mr. Larsen in this effort, and I was pleased to be part of one of these roundtables. The Panel and my Committee share a common understanding of issues facing small business participation in contracting and the health of the industrial base, which is the basis for the package of about thirty-five provisions that were included in the House-passed version of the NDAA.
As HASC's Panel and my Committee found, the federal government marketplace is full of great opportunities for small businesses to succeed, if only we give them the chance. The federal government spends over half a trillion dollars each year on private sector contracts; small businesses deserve a chance to compete for the work, because they bring efficiency and cost-savings to the taxpayer and create jobs while doing it.
This year's NDAA makes substantial reforms to small business contracting which will benefit small contractors throughout the Nation and is supported by nearly 30 trade associations. The small business provisions in the NDAA will help make sure existing small business goals are actually met, empower small business advocates, and crack down on fraud. Most importantly, this legislation ensures that small businesses have greater opportunities to compete. Government contracting offers a unique opportunity to invest in small businesses while also stimulating our economy, considering small businesses create the majority of new jobs. The passage of the conference report is a victory for the 27 million small businesses hard at work throughout America.